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Joan Rivers

Comedian / TV Personality

Born: 8 June 1933
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: TV talk-show host with the catch-phrase "Can we talk?"

Name at birth: Joan Molinsky

Joan Rivers made her name in the 1960s as a sharp-tongued New York comedian. A graduate of Barnard College (1954), she started off as a serious actress but quickly moved into stand-up comedy. By 1965 she was appearing on Johnny Carson's late night talk show, and by the end of the decade she was one of the few nationally known female comics. Rivers appeared on Carson's The Tonight Show nearly 100 times and served as the show's only "permanent guest host" between 1983 and 1986. By then she had written best-selling books, performed on Broadway, wrote and directed the movie Rabbit Test (1978, starring Billy Crystal) and had her own late night talk show on television, The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers (1986-87). In the late '80s her TV gig was cancelled, her husband committed suicide and her career seemed doomed. Rivers bounced back with a job hosting a cable TV shopping channel and a daytime talk show. She and her adult daughter Melissa also became famous for their snarky asides on celebrity fashions as sometime hosts for TV's E! and TV Guide channels (1996-2007). Rivers lives in New York, where she runs a jewelry business and still performs stand-up routines. A 2010 documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, explored her career in comedy.

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